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Saturday, November 23, 2019
​​​​​​Who Is Winning The Climate Wars?

November 22, 2019/ Francis Menton

If you get most of your news passively by just reading what comes up in some kind of Facebook or Google feed or equivalent, you probably have the impression that the Climate Wars are over and the Climate Campaigners have swept the field of battle.

In my case, I certainly don’t rely on those kinds of toxic sources of information, but I do regularly monitor many of the media sources in the “mainstream” category - the New York Times, the Washington Post, Bloomberg, the Economist, Politico, and several of the television networks like CBS, ABC, NBC and CNN.  All of those (and plenty more) have clearly put an absolute ban on any news or information that would cast even the slightest negative light on the proposition that there is an imminent “climate crisis” that must be solved by government transformation of the world economy.

I’ll give a couple of examples of the lengths to which this has gone.  Back in September, mentally unstable Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, whose only qualification was her ignorant passion for climate extremism, got the platform of the UN “Climate Action Summit” for a big speech.  Excerpt:

You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

You would think that sane people would want to stay as far from Greta as possible lest they get accused of child abuse.  But instead, Greta is feted as a heroine.  In October something called the Nordic Council awarded young Greta its 2019 Environmental Award.  (It seems that she has rejected the award, thus claiming for herself an even higher level of holiness among true believers.)

Meanwhile, over in Germany, a German think tank called the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE in the German acronym) planned to hold a climate conference this past weekend at a hotel called the NH in Munich.  From NoTricksZone November 19:

According to EIKE spokesman, Prof. Horst-Joachim Ludecke, “a left-green mob” pressured the hotel management of the NH Congress Center in Munich (Aschheim) “to illegally cancel the accommodation contract”.

Apparently, the unforgivable sin of EIKE was allowing some scientists from the skeptic camp to appear and speak at their conference.  EIKE went to court to try to get an injunction against the last-minute cancelation of their contract, but the German court upheld the cancelation on the ground that “security” concerns trumped free speech.  NTZ indicates in an update that the conference was able to find an alternative location at the last minute and to proceed; but of course, the last-minute change of venue and secret location were huge negatives in trying to get any publicity for the conference.

So the very last vestiges of dissent are in the process of getting stamped out.  Surely then, the transformation of the world economy and of its use of energy cannot be stopped.

Actually, out there in the world, reality continues to trump hysteria.  Do you remember reports from a couple of years ago that China was ceasing to develop fossil fuel power and was becoming a “climate leader” by going all in for trendy renewables wind and solar?  Well, that was to fool the dopes.  Just this month, something called Global Energy Monitor is out with a new report on what’s going on on the ground in China.  Bottom line: 148 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity under active construction or with construction being resumed after suspension.  The Global Energy Monitor people (who seem to be associated with the End Coal campaign) could not be more horrified: 

[A] permitting spree [from 2014 to 2016] brought a cohort of 245 GW of new projects nearly equivalent to the U.S. coal fleet (254 GW) into the developmental pipeline, inflating what was already an overbuilt coal power fleet, with the average running hours for China’s coal plants hovering around 50% since 2015. Today, 147.7 GW of coal plants are either under active construction or under suspension and likely to be revived - an amount nearly equal to the existing coal power capacity of the European Union (150 GW)… Coal and power industry groups are proposing the central government increase total coal power capacity by 20 to 40% to between 1,200 and 1,400 GW as part of China’s 2035 infrastructure plan.

At 1400 GW of coal power capacity, China would be closing in on 6 times U.S. coal power capacity.  Why again are we bothering with this whole decarbonization thing?  (H/t Global Warming Policy Foundation)

And over in Germany, the fantasy that wind power can be competitive with fossil fuel power also keeps running into the wall of the real world.  Der Spiegel reported on November 19 that the end of certain subsidies, along with opposition from local environmentalists who don’t want forests of ugly wind turbines in their localities, has put the German (and European) wind industry in “free fall”.

The manufacturers of turbines and solar panels are dropping like flies, as subsidies are rolled back across Europe.  So-called ‘green’ jobs are a case of easy come, easy go. The wind and solar ‘industries’ that gave birth to those jobs simply can’t survive without massive and endless subsidies, which means their days are numbered.  With the axe being taken to subsidies across the globe, their ultimate demise is a matter of when, not if.  The wind back in subsidies across Europe has all but destroyed the wind industry: in Germany this year a trifling 35 onshore wind turbines have been erected, so far.  Twelve countries in the European Union (EU) failed to install “a single wind turbine” last year.

Meanwhile, fracking in the U.S. continues to keep supplies of oil and gas plentiful, and prices reasonable.  Petrostates like Russia, Venezuela, Iran and Saudi Arabia are on the run.  So who is really winning the climate wars?


Nobody Will Stop Africa From Developing Its Fossil Fuel Resources

November 09, 2019/ Francis Menton

In prior posts where I have addressed the futility of jurisdictions in the U.S. trying to “save the planet” by reducing their use of fossil fuels, my focus has generally been on China and India.  Those countries have huge populations (about 1.4 billion each) and still-poorly-developed energy infrastructure.  Of course they are going to continue to build power plants until everybody has access to reliable electricity.  And of course they are going to make use of coal, oil and natural gas, because those fossil fuels provide the cheapest and most reliable energy.  The ongoing increase in emissions from China and India as they build out their electricity systems and as their people acquire automobiles regularly swamps any minor emissions reductions that any jurisdictions in the U.S. can achieve.

But let us also not overlook Africa.  Africa’s population is currently about 1.3 billion, but growing much faster than that of China or India.  The UN projects a population for Africa of 2.5 billion for 2050, and 4 billion for 2100.  Meanwhile, close to half of the current 1.3 billion Africans lack access to electricity; and that number will only grow rapidly in the absence of rapid buildout of an electrical grid throughout the continent.

You may have seen predictions in certain quarters that Africa is going to “go green” as it gains access to energy.  But what is the reality on the ground?  We can get a good indication by looking at what happened last week at the Africa Oil Week convention, held this year in Cape Town, South Africa.  Reuters had a report on the event, with the headline “No apologies: Africans say their need for oil cash outweighs climate concerns.”

It seems that the Africa Oil Week convention was attended by representatives of some 75 countries, including 23 energy ministers.  According to Reuters, unlike the scene at similar confabs held in Europe, at this one pretty much no one gave a hoot about the issue of “climate change”.

The tension keenly felt at oil conferences in Europe was largely absent over the three-day event in Cape Town; there was little focus on climate change…

One after another, delegates interviewed by Reuters stated that they were not going to let non-Africans buffalo them into not developing their fossil fuel resources.  Examples:

From Gabriel Obiang Lima, energy minister of Equatorial Guinea:  “Under no circumstances are we going to be apologizing [for developing our fossil fuel resources]… Anybody out of the continent saying we should not develop those [oil] fields, that is criminal.”

From Gwede Mantashe, energy minister of South Africa:  “Energy is the catalyst for growth… [Environmentalists] even want to tell us to switch off all the coal-generated power stations,” he said. “Until you tell them, ‘you know we can do that, but you’ll breathe fresh air in the darkness’.”

From Noel Mboumba, hydrocarbons minister of Gabon:  “Oil is a major driver of development.  We will do all in our power to develop it.”

Meanwhile, Africa News has a roundup from the same convention of various countries announcing plans to move forward on fossil fuel development and investment projects:

Senegal’s Oil and Energy Minister Mahamadou Makhtar Cisse used the platform to launch… a licensing round of three blocks of sediment basin.

Angola’s newly formed national oil, gas and biofuels agency, ANGP, announced that the country has formed a consortium with five international oil companies, including Eni and Chevron, to develop liquefied natural gas (LNG)…

Uganda is highlighting the ongoing second licensing round for oil exploration, which covers five highly prospective blocks with relatively good seismic and other data, Minister [Irene] Muloni said…

Ghana told AOW delegates that plans, revising its laws on oil and gas licenses, sent to parliament last week, are an effort to spur production…

Chairman of Mozambique’s upstream regulator, INP, Carlos Zacarias announced that the country’s long-awaited sixth licensing round is due to be launched early next year.

Somalian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed said his country was embarked on a path to transform Somalia’s petroleum industry and attract the attention of new investors…

Even as the Oil Week convention proceeded, outside the hotel, a small group of protesters from Extinction Rebellion did their thing, labeling the event a “Climate Criminals Conference.” Here is a photograph from Reuters:


Notice that all of the protesters are white.  Their objective is to keep the poor poor.  Somehow they have convinced themselves that they have the moral high ground. 

Posted on 11/23 at 10:27 AM
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